Friday, July 10, 2020

REVIEW: 'Little Voice' - Bess' Stubbornness May Prevent Her From Accepting Samuel's Help in 'I Will Survive'

AppleTV+'s Little Voice - Episode 1.02 "I Will Survive"

Taking her brother Louie's advice, Bess gets rehired at the club - and her first paying gig thanks to her friend and coworker Benny.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of AppleTV+'s Little Voice.

"I Will Survive" was written by Daniel Goldfarb and directed by Christopher Storer

Bess was terrified to perform again after bombing during her first show with original music. She got up on the stage again though. It's still fundamentally her passion. As she learns through Louie's group, she has to engage in a job that helps her pursue her talents and ambitions. She has that in her job at the club. She also has support all around her that wants her to succeed. Benny will go out and get paid gigs for her. Samuel will come over to help her rehearse. She is still scared though. She internalizes a lot of those self doubts. That leads to a lot of moments where the action is just watching her wander around the city trying to cement a lyric that could improve the latest song idea she has. Inspiration can strike wherever she goes. She will take those opportunities wherever they come. However, she still has to deal with the realities of taking care of dogs for their wealthy owners. At times, she cares too much about how others perceive her. She doesn't want to put herself in a position to be mocked or ridiculed. She doesn't want anything bad to happen to her. That may stem out of how protective and responsible she has always had to be with her brother and father. Her dad has no problem buying expensive suits and hats for his children. He doesn't have the money to pay for it even with a discount attached. Bess has to be the one to manage the finances. They all share these musical passions. They are each taking steps to fill their lives with even more music. It's fundamentally a celebration when Bess gets this gig lined up. And yet, she has to balance conflicting notes about how she should conduct herself onstage. Everyone has an opinion about what makes her special. Samuel absolutely gives her the best advice. He says that people project their own lives onto whatever song she happens to be singing. As such, she doesn't need to explain her thought process. Later on in rehearsal though, he talks about the sentimentality of the words she is singing. She pushes against that description. That's not how she would classify the emotions attached to this piece. She hears it a certain way in her head. She is reluctant to change the sound now. He happens to have a good idea though. When the two of them are onstage together, they actually sound wonderful. This could be the start of a beautiful partnership. One that won't just fade away because this gig isn't as good as everyone hoped it would be. They still have so much learning to do. They are struggling. They will do whatever it takes to perform. They may not make any money singing on the street. However, it's a unifying experience because it cements that this partnership can withstand some embarrassing moments. Bess isn't wrapped up in her own fears when she is performing this time. The audience gets to witness her on the stage killing it. It's only afterwards that everyone learns that there are only a few patrons in this place. Bess was so nervous. She built up expectations. She feels that she has disappointed the social contract of what Benny and Samuel expect of her from this job. She has to pay them despite not getting anything from the club owner. That isn't necessary. They all understand that he is a jerk. Bess is stubborn though. She doesn't want to be beholden to anyone. She stands firm in her perspective on the world. She doesn't want to be put into a box. However, she is still afraid of how others will perceive her. Sometimes that results in physical harm to her. It's a big laugh when she hurts herself by kicking the door to the bathroom stall. That is big physical humor that seems a little out of place with everything else the show aspires to have. And yet, this episode continues the slow building momentum of Bess' journey. It's not all sudden success for her. It delves into the real struggles of playing these bad gigs in the hopes that it will lead to something greater. In the meantime, the show hopes to add some excitement by featuring Samuel and Ethan as cute guys she can flirt with too. That is a more formulaic story being told. It doesn't really add anything to the proceedings. Samuel has some value outside of it while Ethan is trapped as the guy who led her on and now has to find some way to explain himself. It's awkward and doesn't really work. But those could just be the growing pains the show has as it continues to find itself.